Monthly Archives: March 2012

How To Prepare Estate Planning After Having a Baby

Estate planning after having children.

After having a baby, your estate planning strategy completely changes because you need to account for some important decisions that will affect your child, both now and as he transitions into adulthood. It is important to add your child to your will right away and make several other decisions related to your child in the coming years.

First, specify in your will how your assets will be divided between your heirs, including the new baby. An estate planning lawyer can walk you through the process to ensure your wishes get carried out.

Second, get a Massachusetts estate planning attorney to add a clause to your will that specifies who will care for your child if you and the child’s other parent are both unable to. Including this in your will may seem silly if you’re healthy, but it never hurts to have it there in case something happens to you.

Third, consider setting up a living trust. This is a way to protect your assets from being tied up when you die, while still allowing you full control while you are living. A living trust attorney can walk you through the specifics of this process.

Fourth, start transferring your assets to your child if you have a large estate. Tax laws allow you to make tax-free gifts of up to $13,000 per year for each child, which adds up significantly over the child’s lifetime.

Of course, there are several other things you will need to consider as well, especially if you have a large estate or if your existing will is a complicated one. Get in touch with your Massachusetts estate planning lawyer before your baby arrives so you can discuss your plans and be ready to put them in place.

Estate Planning After Divorce

Getting a divorce is the last thing on most people’s minds when doing an estate plan, but even couples with the best intentions sometimes end up in divorce court. Having your original estate planning documents revisited is an important step after the divorce process.

One of the first estate plan priorities after divorce is the removal references to your spouse as your power of attorney, trustee or executor. This happens automatically to many documents under some state laws, but it’s important to make the changes as soon as possible.

Another big area of concern with any estate plan after divorce would be any minor children and their named guardians and conservators. New people need to be chosen to fulfill these obligations in the event of yours or your ex-spouse’s death. This is especially important if there are any minor children in the family who have special needs. During this process, reconsider how money is distributed to minor children in the event of your death. Your estate plan should be set up so that someone who is your ex-spouse will not have control of your minor children’s inheritance.

Changing beneficiary designations on life insurance plans, although normally handled through the divorce, is also a key point. The most important are qualified retirement plans like 401Ks. Make sure documents that were anticipated by the divorce judgment, like the transfer of a house to the spouse, are carried out. Don’t forget to record new deeds for all properties that were previously joint-ownership.

People often assume when they get a divorce judgment everything has been done. Some of the actions taken after divorce are just as important for future security as the divorce itself.